Learning with Lexi: Facial proportions.

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Hey guys! Hope we’re all doing well!

I’m coming at you with another study, this time it’s on facial proportions!

I have always had issues of where to start with faces and I often thought it would be good to start with one eye and then figure things out as I went along. Oh boy… that took a fair amount of work.

Hopefully, in sharing the techniques and basic rules for facial designs and encouraging a lot of practice, this will help make things SO MUCH EASIER when it comes to creating faces.

Rule of thirds:

When you hear “The rule of thirds” you automatically think of photography and the techniques used to improve how an image’s composition looks…. if you haven’t, then I’ll totally go over that at a later date. For now, though, I’m talking faces.

When it comes to basic facial proportions, you can break things down into basic shapes and divide parts of them into three in order to figure out where you should place certain parts of the face.

Step 1: Start with a circle!

This is the easy bit. The human cranium (upper portion of the skull) when viewed from the front is round, so it is easiest to represent it with a circle, plus it makes for an awesome frame to start with.

This is the easy bit. The human cranium (upper portion of the skull) when viewed from the front is round, so it is easiest to represent it with a circle, plus it makes for an awesome frame to start with.

Step 2: Split that circle into half then half again, so there’s 4 equal sections.
Step 3: The distance between the centre and the bottom of the circle is roughly the distance we need for the chin, if we’re drawing a basic head, anyways.
Step 4: Split that bottom half of the circle into thirds. That top line is the perfect placement for the eye line! And the bottom of the circle? Perfect spot for the nose. I tend to put in a circle into that point and place the nostrils on that line.
Step 5: Repeat step 4 on the chin area. That top line is a great placement point for the lip line.
Step 6: Eye placement. The best way to find where the eyes should go, in my opinion, is to divide the width of the head into quarters. This gives a rough estimation of where the centre of the eyes go.
The rest should be easy to put into place from here! The eye size can be decided by the with of the head. You should be able to have 3 eye shapes all the same size in the centre of the face, while half an eye should be left at either side of the head. The eyebrows are usually half an eye in height above the eyes and the line in which they sit on act as a guide for the top of the ear, whereas the nose line works as a great guide for where the bottom of the ear should be!
Using similar guides, you can draw a side profile too. But the cranium from the side is more an ovular shape.
Experiment with different sizes for the cranium, just remember to use the rule of 3rds to find feature placements and you can easily create stylised heads!

I hope this guide helps! I found it to work really well for my style of work, though I know there are many different methods of doing faces. This one just clicked for me!

Have fun and I look forward to sharing the next guide with you!

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